Solar Water Heating Up

May/June 2002
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2002 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 01, 2002
A wide range of options exist for ready-to-install, readily certified solar water heating systems. To further heat things up, government and utility incentives are expanding.
        Solar water heating is once again gaining market share, and with good reason.The development of HERS and Energy Star, together with technological refinements, is transforming the way home builders look at water heating options. Complete offthe- shelf systems have evolved and are being readily certified for a myriad of rebate programs.         In most applications, solar water heating contributes more to saving energy than any other solar technology. Solar water heating at $1.00-$2.50/W is a better investment than photovoltaics at $6.00-$10.00/W. Solar domestic hot water (SDHW) systems in the market cost $1,000-$2,500/kW for a typical residential system.         According to the national Solar Rating and Certification Corporation, a typical residential SDHW system for a family of four delivers 4 kW of electrical equivalent thermal power under full sun, and when the temperature of the water in the storage tank is about the same as the air temperature. Such a system typically has about 64 ft2 of solar collector surface area and produces approximately the same peak power as 400 ft2 of PV panels.         Because peak performance occurs ...

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